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Three Useful Ways to Improve a Team's Workflow

Posted on August 16, 2012 by Josh Mc

Leaders, managers and team members have been an integral part of human society as far back as we can see into history, whether they were building ancient societies or fighting the first known wars. Even in these times that may seem distant to our own, there are principles that determine a team's productivity. Shifting focus to these principles is an easy way to identify the weak points of a typical workflow.

Provide the Right Tools for the Job

Imagine ten workers that have been assigned to clean the tile floor of a huge, 10-story building. Two of these workers have brooms, two have mops and six of them have a toothbrush. Anyone with a discerning eye can understand that having 6 toothbrush-wielding workers is a bad idea, and this concept translates directly to teams responsible for different tasks in virtually every field.

Whether it's a toothbrush, software, a comfortable chair, a truck or countless other tools that can improve an worker's output, providing an employee with the tools necessary for the job is instrumental in them being successful. Managing that workflow with tools such as Trello can also help to see where the employees are at and what snags may be holding up their progress. Even if a tool seems expensive, if you consider the amount of hours it saves an employee in the day, that can in turn be attributed to a different task or job, then the price quickly becomes worth it.

Supplement Communication

Communication is almost always a factor in teamwork. Dissonant attitudes between team members often leads to poor communication and is one of the underlying issues that makes personal disputes in a team such a threat to success. Communication should almost be held sacred, like something that is to never be tainted and only appreciated. Improving communication is similar to sharpening a blade, in that it isn't about turning a piece of metal into a samurai's sword in the blink of an eye, but rather, it is about making small, precise changes that shape the team into a fully functional unit. For example, if one teammate does not understand critical news that affects a project, their ability to rapidly adapt is diminished by their lack of understanding. These situations are easily alleviated with proper communication, and there are thousands of books and documentaries on the subject.

Work with Strengths

Humans have a huge propensity to have both strengths and weaknesses. Things like anxiety, insecurity, awkwardness, laziness and countless other issues can all have a huge impact on a seemingly simple project. This is something that has to be expected, but a good manager will see which people will work best on which projects and assign them accordingly, thus allowing each member to use their strength and weaknesses to achieve a common goal.

A great team is made up of complementary strengths that can work together well. If the sum of a team's strength is great enough to accomplish a task, then there should be no debate or worry of the weaknesses of the individuals of the team. If the strengths of a team are properly organized, weaknesses will never be a concern. The weakness of a team can always be assuaged with better tools, training and communication, but the strengths of a team are its foundation for success.

These are just a couple ideas on how to improve a team's workflow. If you have any additional ideas, make sure to leave them in the comments.

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